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Cam, let us enjoy your Heisman moment


You wonder if Cam Newton is enjoying himself.

This week, Auburn's running quarterback/walking NCAA case has gone through the awards carwash. They loved him in Orlando for the college football awards show. Will the Big Apple embrace perhaps the biggest runaway win in Heisman history?

What Cam Newton does after his award Saturday night will determine how enjoyable the night will be. (AP)  
What Cam Newton does after his award Saturday night will determine how enjoyable the night will be. (AP)  
Wham Bam Cam has to understand that when you win the Heisman, you are immortalized. You become a member of a forever fraternity. A couple of years ago, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford won it. Former winner and fellow Sooner Billy Sims was so proud he boomed, "Boomer!" from the stage. (The appropriate response in Oklahoma is, "Sooner!") They shake your hand, fill your belly with steak and your head with compliments. Then they hand you the trophy that changes your life.

With that come certain responsibilities.

The biggest landslide victory could be had by the most dubious winner. It's no secret that if Newton doesn't win Saturday in New York, the Heisman Trust needs a new accounting firm. It seems that most of the voters have either a) concentrated on what happened on the field or b) are too confused about the Heisman's eligibility standards that it doesn't matter. That's the thing. The man who is going to rule the popular vote doesn't seem to be that popular. Certainly not like a Tebow or a Bradford.

Having fun yet, Cam? There are some who had to hold their noses when they voted for you. That's why I wonder if you will relish the biggest day of your life. It has the potential to get ugly.

Newton was not made available Wednesday in Orlando at a media session for the awards show. On Thursday, he did a sitdown with ESPN, breaking no new ground by saying again he did nothing wrong. In fact, things are going so well that Cecil Newton won't be in New York -- he doesn't want to be a "distraction." On the biggest day of his life, Cam Newton's dad won't be sharing the moment. Yeah, things are going great.

I suspect there will be a lot of happy talk during the telecast Saturday night. Maybe one "tough" question making a vague reference to "distractions" in summarizing the biggest story of the college football season. Ah, but there is another part to this media crush. The winner traditionally walks over from the Nokia Theater to the Marriott Marquis in Times Square for a formal press conference. There will be questions from a more critical media, a broader cross section. If someone tries to keep it to, "football questions only," I'm guessing the New York media won't cooperate. They/we will want to know from Cam ...

 Would it have been better if his dad sold insurance, instead of his son to the highest bidder?

 How hard has it been playing with the NCAA investigating?

 What was it like to be ineligible for one day during Iron Bowl week?

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 What about "the money was too much" quote when you chose Auburn?

That's for starters. If we're not allowed to ask, well, it's going to be an embarrassing scene when they shut down the press conference for the best player in the country. Keep that in your memory hope chest, Auburn Fan.

Here's some advice: Talk, Cam, and not just to ESPN. Thank your mom and let her talk. Flip this uncomfortable moment. Charm us. Tell us stories about the season. If your handlers were any good they would have you armed with one or two to disarm us. If the questions get too close to the nuclear core of the subject of your eligibility, your dad or the NCAA, two words: no comment. Those words don't indict you and keep the conversation moving. Your natural personality will show through. You're a bright kid, an articulate speaker.

College football wants to love you, Cam. You just need to give it a chance. A lot of us voted for you for all the right reasons. We want you to remember the biggest day of your life. The least you can do is share it with us.

My Heisman ballot

1. Cam Newton, Auburn: I'm not a hater. I voted Cammy Cam Cam No. 1 for the only reason that should matter (at the moment): He's the most amazing player on the planet. When I asked Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti how many players on his unit were smaller than Newton, he said, "Off the top of my head, at least half. Every one of our linebackers. Every one of our secondary guys. That's at least seven. Maybe [defensive lineman] Kenny Rowe, that's eight."


2. LaMichael James, Oregon: A great story of redemption for the most powerful, elusive tailback in college football. In a sport where running backs are becoming less and less important, James reminded us it's still all about pounding the rock.

3. Kellen Moore, Boise State: This head coach-in-waiting knows exactly how to dissect a defense. Seventy-two touchdown passes and eight interceptions over the past two seasons ain't too shabby.

Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.

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